While only a little dirt may have been able to creep into my hermetically sealed – poorly taped – LEGO storage boxes, my old bricks were already dusty when I packed them up twenty years ago. So, obviously, one of my tasks has been to start cleaning the old pieces before re-use in the 6080 King’s Castle. In the comments for my Bricks on plate! post, Jordan Perry kindly suggested that “mild dish soap and warm water with a soft-bristled toothbrush works wonders on unprinted, stickerless pieces”. In a LEGO catalog I found additional tips (translated): “Did you know that LEGO bricks can be washed in 40 degree [Celsius] water with mild detergent?” (That is 104 Fahrenheit.)
So far I have been cleaning individual pieces by soaking them in mildly warm and soapy water, rubbing gently with an old toothbrush and then rinsing in cold water. Final touches come from a microfiber cloth. This has been working fairly well, the flow of water attacks the dust while the soap and toothbrush take out most other stains. A word of warning, though: Yesterday I managed to accidentally flush down several minifigure torsos and pants. The washbasin was plugged, but the overflow hole was big enough to suck them in. It was quite the scare, since the part of the external plumbing that was supposed to catch them turned out to be empty. Luckily the pieces had been stuck inside the washbasin and I managed to rescue all of them. Double scare considering they were minifigures that appear in the 6080 King’s Castle! Whew.
Another idea that has crossed my mind is putting a bunch a bricks into a one of those washing bags and throwing the whole thing into the washing machine. I worry about what it might do to the bricks and the machine, though, and its effectiveness against stains, so I’m not really going to try that – even the washbasin seems to be too dangerous for me. I’ll stick to soap and bucket from now on.
What is your trick for cleaning LEGO?